Authorities detain six in latest sweep against illegal expatriate businesses

10 Jul 2024 | 18:03
A photo from an earlier operation shows an expatriate woman being detained by Immigration officials (Photo/Immigration).

Maldives Immigration has arrested six more individuals following inspections of small shops operated by expatriates in Male' City.

According to a police media official, the inspections targeted small retail shops and four takeaway coffee shops, resulting in the detention of six expatriates.

This operation included raids on two markets in Male' City, where expatriates operating stalls were detained.

Immigration officials reported that five men and one woman were taken into custody last night and remain in immigration custody pending deportation.

Immigration Controller Shamaan stated that all foreigners trading illegally in the Maldives would be deported.

In a related move, the government announced on the fourth of this month 25 areas where foreigners are prohibited from conducting business.

These areas include locations where expatriates are already active.

The restricted business activities include

- Retail trade (including online businesses)

- Wholesale trade (excluding construction materials)

- Domestic logistics

- Postal and courier services

- Food services (including operating cafes, restaurants, and bakeries)

- Equipment rental (including heavy construction machinery)

- Employment agency and recruitment services

- Travel agency and related activities

- Landscaping

- Public administration and national defense-related activities

- General tuition and Quran classes

- General clinics

- Computer and appliance repair

- Programming and broadcasting

- Legal services

- Photography and videography

- Picnic island development and operation

- Commercial vehicle driving

- Manufacturing and selling souvenirs and handicrafts

- Rubber and plastics manufacturing

- Tobacco products manufacturing

- Wood products manufacturing (excluding furniture)

- Mining and quarrying, sand mining, and forestry.

As of yesterday, 101 individuals have been detained for illegal trading activities in the Maldives.

The government has prioritized identifying undocumented expatriates in the Maldives.

Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusaan affirmed the government's commitment to persist until a permanent solution to the issue of undocumented immigrants is achieved.